Music arrives to Nordic Music Review in all kind of ways - emails, the excellent Submit Hub, twitter messages, by scouring other (far more reliable...) music websites, Bandcamp, Nordic gig and festival listings, the list is simply endless. How Swedish 4 piece band 'Cinnamon Space Machine' ended up downloaded on our new album playlist on Spotify (many months back) is more confusing, they just simply appeared one day, and maybe that's appropriate for a psychedelic rock band who have an element of mystery about them, and probably used some mind bending supernatural powers to simply insert themselves on to the playlist. But if someone pointed them in my direction, well I remain immensely grateful, as their debut album 'Captain's Log' is a hugely enjoyable listen, and probably my most listened long play record this year.
From the very beginning of opening track 'April Showers' I'm hooked, a babble of instruments with flute and glockenspiel at the fore, before a build of drums introduces a psychedelic guitar that throws me back an age and a jaunty melody carries the track forward - contrasting with an early hint of dark lyrics. 'Revelation Sandman' strips out the pace and introduces pleading vocals that border on the dramatic, whilst 'Never Coming Back' throws the emphasis to the carefully constructed words: ''Somewhere there's gotta be a future that's worth all this shit / one day I'll go looking for it'', and both rhythmically and melodically the track is a success.
These are all nicely written songs, but I'm drawn to the album even further with 'Marie the Believer' thanks to a huge chorus, more engaging lyrics and guitars leading a change of direction followed by a lovely build of momentum as the track reaches a climax - it's just darn good songwriting. And with the album now at full speed, we're offered 'Wide Awake', my undoubted favourite of the record, just listen for the bass line, another anthemic chorus and the most fantastic of guitar and glockenspiel interventions flung into the centre of the instrumental madness. I have images of thousands of swaying festival fans singing along to 'Borderline', whilst 'Aunt Norah's Lullaby' has lovely vocal harmonies added to the mix and words that remind me I really need to find a copy of the entire albums lyrics. The revelatory 'Moment of Truth' concludes the album, a huge climax and a personal outpouring of emotion: ''It’s not what I’ve done / it’s that I do and just keep on doing'', and I remain hooked straining now to hear every word.
Now as much as I like this album I have at times felt slightly out of my comfort zone with some of the undoubted classic influences, which probably reflects badly on some of my musical upbringing. But equally there are some lovely quirky moments of unusual brilliance that point more in the direction of the band featured on the bassists T-shirt in the band photo (them 'Cardiacs'), and there is no doubt that 'Cinnamon Space Machine' take all this and then forge a slightly different direction still, with real character and style too. The 'theatrical' elements of 'Captain's Log' might not quite be to everyone's taste I realise, but actually this is another album actually where the success is 'simply' built around great melodies and interesting lyrics, and a desire from the band to 'throw the kitchen sink' at their songs when they need to. It might have taken me a while to get around to saying this, but 'Cinnamon Space Machine' are undoubtedly my favourite 'new discovery' of the year, and 'Captains Log' is a resounding success.
Nordic Music Review 9/10
Band Photo by Freakfabrik (www.freakfabrik.se)